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Brief Published: 4 Mar 2021

Covid-19 Causes Unexpected Global Hair Loss

Novant Health

Hair loss has been reported globally as an unexpected effect of Covid-19. New research suggests Covid sufferers and those with heightened anxiety due to the pandemic are losing hair at an unprecedented rate. Stylus explores this unforeseen trend and details how brands can help.

The pandemic has accelerated hair loss due to the increased emotional stress it causes, with 33% of Americans having experienced high levels of psychological distress at some point during lockdown (Pew, 2020). As we explore in The Brief, consumers are aware of how Covid-19-inflicted stress is negatively impacting their inner and outer health and brands can alleviate this with stress-relieving health products.

People are also experiencing hair loss post-Covid-19 due to the illness itself – as it places immense strain on the immune system. “Due to the hair growth cycle, telogen effluvium (a form of temporary hair loss) is often expected six to 12 weeks or so after the period of illness, medication or stress that triggered it,” Anabel Kinglsey, Philip Kingsley’s brand president and consultant trichologist, told industry new source Cosmetic Business.   

Additionally, hair loss has been prevalent within racially diverse communities. Reports of hair loss among people of colour in New York rose by 400% between March 1 and August 31 in 2020, compared with pre-pandemic cases between September 1, 2019 and February 29, 2020 (Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 2020).

Consumers are turning to brands to help navigate this issue. Searches for “hair loss” increased by 409% at Sephora online from March to May 2020 (Sephora, 2020). Between March and May 2020, US-based hair growth supplement brand Nutrafol saw a 30% increase for its stress adaptogen supplement. This growth highlights that products and treatments targeting hair loss and stress will resonate with consumers, offering brands opportunities to develop products and adapt marketing to cater to hair loss concerns.